Overall Grade: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
If you enjoyed the 2010 movie, Life as We Know It with Katherine Heigl and Josh Duhamel, then Rachel Van Dyken’s newest offering, The Godparent Trap, will be your “cup of tea.” If you have no idea what I’m talking about, but you love hate-to-love/enemies-to-lovers, forced proximity, opposites attract, and grump-sunshine as romantic tropes, then you will adore The Godparent Trap. There is something delicious about taking a buttoned-up, follows-the-rules hero such as Rip, and using the heroine to insert disorder into his life. This is Rachel Van Dyken, which means there is meat on the bone of this romantic dramedy.
There’s a good reason for Rip’s structured life. Even during his grumpiest, most staid moments, his compassion for his niece and nephew wins over the reader. This isn’t an easy feat because he’s mean to his heroine, Colby. In fact, I read another review on this book that gave it 2 stars because Rip’s digs at Colby in the first third of the story are hard to accept. He cuts her down and pushes against her inner “bruises.” Thankfully, Colby, even in her disordered life, is self-possessed. She has insecurities as we all do, and while Rip’s unkindness towards her hurts her, she has the sense to consider his insecurities. Van Dyken carefully balances the mean-spiritedness of Rip with Colby’s kindness and generosity of spirit. It’s what ultimately saves Van Dyken’s story. Without that balance, I think more readers would proffer 2-star reviews because Rip is difficult to love at first. Yet, that makes for a more exciting journey for Rip. It’s the catnip for any reader who loves a grumpy hero with closed-off feelings. Colby becomes the impetus for his greatest change and the moral of the story: “and now I knew I always had. I had just been afraid to love someone I couldn’t control. Someone who didn’t fit in the perfect plan I had for my life, not even realizing that the perfect plan wasn’t what I needed.”
Adding in precocious children and a prying business partner ameliorates the tension between Rip and Colby. Van Dyken also underscores the power of grief through her characters, especially the different ways people grieve death. The Godparent Trap is an easy read, even with themes that tug at your heart. I enjoyed it and loved Rip’s progression from a seemingly hard-hearted roommate to a swoony hero.
In love and romance,